This seems to be the year the men of Congress have gone wild. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Leader in the House, called for another ethics investigation a few weeks ago, on the heels of Weinergate, about the sexual misconduct allegations against her colleague Rep. David Wu (D-Ore). If you don’t know, since the debt ceiling drama as hogged all the headlines, Congressman Wu is accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a friend’s teenage daughter. Throw in a wacky picture of himself in a tiger suit sent to staffers last year and you’ve got something really special. Pelosi seems accustomed to the juvenile antics of her political colleagues since these types of incidences are commonplace on Capitol Hill. Elected to office in 1987, she’s climbed the ranks amidst the bad boy behavior of Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO), Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and their pioneering work in infidelity and sexual harassment. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Sen. John Ensign (R-NEV), Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) and the most famous philanderer, President Bill Clinton, carried on their tradition to inspire lusty headlines of their own.
Even if you don’t agree with her politics, you have to admire that Pelosi succeeded in a pervasively sexist culture on Capitol Hill surrounded by men who appear to be depraved idiots. I suspect she has been chased around a desk or two. Once she stated in a New York Times blog, which explored the role sexism played in Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President, “I’m a victim of sexism myself all the time.”
So what’s the secret of Pelosi’s success? She gained great power in being a woman that doesn’t dwell on the unfairness of sexism or the times she was objectified. Pelosi also said (in the article referenced above), “I myself find that I get a tremendous upside being a woman, and I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about sexist remarks that people make.” This is good advice for women facing unique challenges in the workplace.
I believe women in porn hold this same type of power Pelosi speaks about. Successful porn stars have negotiated better deals, started production companies and got behind the camera to direct films. Like Pelosi did in Congress, women in the male dominated porn industry created a lucrative place for themselves in spite of the sexist nature of this business.
So it seems perfect irony that Pelosi is now charged, at times, with counseling these wayward politicians in resigning in the name of doing what’s best for their constituents and families. Her success, along with the success of so many other women, defeats sexism. Pelosi is truly one of the iron ladies of the Capitol Hill.